Cuckmere River meanders should stay, say community

MEMBERS of the community have argued for the Cuckmere River’s iconic meanders to be restored at a major public meeting.

More than 120 people attended the event on Tuesday June 7 as part of the Cuckmere Pathfinder Project.

Together they assessed and voted on different options for the future of the estuary at Alfriston War Memorial Hall.

The clear message was that the meanders were the most important aspect of the Cuckmere.

There was considerable interest in the option, which restored and reactivated the meanders as the medium to long term solution.

The option most favoured by the community was to maintain the existing defences.

The meeting concluded this should be the shorter term plan, while further research, fundraising and development into restoring the meanders took place.

The decision was the result of the Cuckmere Pathfinder Project, where East Sussex County Council worked with landowners, statutory bodies and the community to reach a consensus about the future of the estuary.

County council assistant director for policy, economy, transport and environment Andy Robertson said: “People care passionately and deeply about the Cuckmere, and it was clear that the meanders are felt to be a particularly important feature.

“Everyone has their own view about the future, but through the Pathfinder Project I believe we have arrived at a consensus – a solution which had the support of the vast majority of the many members of the community who took part in the project.

“Arriving at this shared decision has been a long and complex process involving hundreds of people.

“I am enormously grateful to all those who have taken part and given their time and expertise and for the positive way in which people with a wide range of opinions have engaged in the process and with each other.

“Our next step will be to take the community’s decision back to the council for formal ratification.

“After that, we will fully support the community in its plans to implement the solution which has been agreed.”

A report will be published over the summer.